The Moon Salutation (Chandra Namasakar) sequence of yoga poses is the Yin to the Sun Salutation Yang.
In Sanskrit, “Chandra” means moon. Moon Salutations give thanks to the moon and channels the calming energy she emanates.
Moon Salutations are cooling and quiet because they channel feminine energy from the moon; whereas Sun Salutations are active and warming because they channel masculine energy from the sun.
Moon salutations are the energetic opposite of Sun Salutations. Thus, Sun Salutations are a “Yang” practice while Moon Salutations tap into “Yin” energy.
Yin and Yang energy go hand-in-hand. There can be no Yin (dark) without Yang (light). Since everything in life needs Yin and Yang to stay balanced, you can practice a Moon Salutation to even out the Yang in your life.
When to Practice a Moon Salutation
Practice a Moon Salutation at the end of your regular yoga practice, at night before bed, on the full and new moon, or whenever you feel you need lunar balance in your life.
Harnessing the energy from the moon is a powerful, wonderful, and magical experience. The energy allows you to start fresh, and manifest the things you truly want. The Moon Salutation sequence harnesses this energy and cleanses the soul.
Since Moon Salutations channel the calming energy from the moon, this sequence is also great to practice during your cycle to help reduce cramping.
Benefits of Moon Salutations
Moon Salutations have many benefits including:
- Maintain balanced energy
- Channel creativity
- Calm stress and anxiety
- Relieve sciatic nerve pain
- Balance Ida and Pingala nadis (nadis are energy channels throughout our bodies)
Here’s Your Step-by-Step Moon Salutation Practice Guide:
Face the long side of your mat to start. We start with the right side, then move to the left. You can flow through the Moon Salutation sequence as many times as you like.
Be sure to find a steady breath pace, and keep your movements slow, mindful, and linked to your breath.
1. Mountain Pose
Find Mountain Pose or Tadasana, with hands at heart center.
2. Upward Mountain
Inhale your arms towards the sky, palms touching, to Upward Mountain Pose, or Urdhva Hastasana.
3. Crescent Pose
Exhale and side bend to the right for Crescent Pose. Draw your navel in and up, and lengthen your ribs away from your hips to create a nice side stretch on your left side.
Inhale back to Upward Facing Mountain Pose and exhale to side bend to the left. This time, create length in your right side body and keep your navel drawing in and up, as your tailbone melts down to the floor. Inhale back to center.
4. Goddess Pose
Exhale to step your left foot out wide into Goddess Pose, or Utkata Konasana. Your toes point slightly out. Keep your knees soft as you squat.
Your knees stack over your ankles as your navel draws in and up. Bend your arms to 90 degrees at your elbows (cactus arms), or you can bring your hands to a prayer mudra.
5. Star Pose
Inhale, straighten your knees, and reach your arms straight out coming into Star Pose.
6. Triangle Pose
Exhale, point your right foot toward the front of your mat, and keep your left foot parallel to the back of your mat. Release your right hand to your shin or a yoga block for Triangle Pose, or Trikonasana.
7. Triangle Forward Bend
Exhale, and bring your hands to your mat on either side of your right foot (or on yoga blocks). Inhale to lengthen through your spine and on the exhale, fold forward a little bit deeper.
8. Supported Lunge
Inhale to lift your left heel off the mat, and pivot your toes so your heel is stacked over the ball of your foot. Exhale and bend your right knee, coming into a supported lunge with your hands on your mat or yoga blocks.
9. Side Lunge
Inhale to bring both hands to the floor on the big toe side of your right foot. Pivot both feet to the short edges of your mat, keeping them at lunge-distance.
Flex your left toes and lift them off the mat so you’re balancing on your left heel. Keep your hands on your mat or for an added challenge, bring your hands to jnana mudra.
10. Yogi Squat
Place your hands in front of you. Exhale to bend your left knee and bring your hands to prayer for Yogi Squat (or Malasana).
11. Side Lunge
Place both hands on the ground. Exhale to extend your right leg straight out keeping the foot flexed for Side Lunge (or Skandasana) on the opposite side. For an added challenge, bring your hands to jnana mudra.
12. Supported Lunge
Bring your hands to frame your left foot and then exhale to pivot your right heel off your mat (your heel will stack over the ball of your back foot) to come into a supported lunge.
13. Triangle Forward Bend
Pivot your right heel to the mat with your pinky toes parallel to the back of the mat. Straighten your left leg and fold forward for Triangle Forward bend.
14. Triangle Pose
Bring your left hand to your left shin and rotate your chest toward the sky. Exhale to extend your right arm towards the sky in line with your shoulder.
15. Star Pose
Inhale to bring your torso upright, pivot both feet so your toes face the long edge of your mat, and extend your arms out to either side.
16. Goddess Pose
Exhale bend into your knees and bend your arms at 90-degrees at your elbow for Goddess Pose.
17. Upward Mountain
Inhale, straighten both legs and bring your feet together. Lift your arms overhead, palms touching, for Upward Mountain.
18. Crescent Pose
Exhale and side bend to the left for Crescent Pose. Draw your navel in and up, and lengthen your ribs away from your hips to create a nice side stretch on your right side.
Inhale back to Upward Facing Mountain Pose and exhale to side bend to the right. This time, create length in your left side body and keep your navel drawing in and up, as your tailbone melts down to the floor. Inhale back to center.
Inhale and lift your arms overhead with your palms touching.
Exhale to bring your hands in prayer mudra to heart center.
Enjoy the Lunar Energy You Just Generated With Your Moon Salutation!
Moon salutations are a great addition to your moon rituals. During the next full moon, do a few rounds of this sequence in the moonlight to get the full effect of moon salutations.
Flow through this sequence a few times when you’re trying Moon Salutations for the first time. Find your rhythm and move with the breath. Namaste!
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